One of my favorite things owning a bike store lets me do is build bikes. I love getting a frame and starting from scratch with consideration for every nut and bolt. Once I decided on the frame I get paper and pencil to map out all the parts and components. Sometimes. like in this build, things can get held up for a few days just waiting on the right 90 cent bolt. But Im very patient in my component choices and never in a hurry. More often than not I start collecting components before the frame is even here.
I started out by getting the gold Crockett frameset. Trek always throws in a different color frameset from their production bikes. I like that. Makes the build even more custom. Then, after a few phone calls, I got ahold of a Sram eTap hydro group thats not really available for another month yet. I was told I got one of ten available. And when that happens you just have to go for it. This is acually my first experience with eTap and I know its been around for over a year but in that time frame its just not been that available. Distributors get them in, sell them out and wait to get them in again. Anyway, I was holding out for the hydro brakes anyway. I no longer have rim brakes on anything I ride.
Then, I was going to wait for Zipp’s new 302 wheel. A $1500 price point Zipp carbon wheel sounds great. However, not available until early August (for the disk wheel) so I was just going throw on a set of aluminum’s when Bontrager came out with their new carbon wheel, the Aeolus 3Pro. MSRP on those is only $1199 for a full carbon wheel. And the wheels are great. Price points on stuff like this will be headed downward across the industry. Those wheels came available last Friday and I got me a set and put them on the bike on Monday.
The cockpit is all Easton. I really like their EC90 aero bars. So I went with those plus a stem and seatpost also to be all matchy.
I forgot to mention the new Crocketts have Treks Stranglehold rear dropouts. You can move the rear axle in the frame to compensate for bigger tires or just to change wheelbase. That first came out a few years ago on the 29+ Stache, then moved to the Farelys and now the Crockett. It works very well.
Most road\cross bikes now are coming with the newer flat mount brake mount. So easy to mount and adjust. It’s a smaller and lighter caliper too. And works well.
Let’s talk about hydro brakes and how far they have come over the years. I remember not too long ago breaking a hydro line opened a can of worms and bleeding those brakes required some swearing and sometimes two people. When I put the Shimano stuff on my BMC Roadmachine last April the brake kit came unassembled. So I had to put it together dry. However bleeding the system was so easy now. One guy, no swearing, 15 minutes per brake. Done and clean. With Sram, the system came assembled and pre blead. But I still had to shorten the hose both front and back. Both lines, when cut and reassembled, just bolted back together and worked fine, no bleeding needed. In fact, the rear line I screwed up on the compression olive, didnt have another in shop so I ordered them, let the brake line hang open for three days. Put on the new olive when it came in, tightened it up and brake worked perfect. After hanging open all those days. Crazy.
The rest of the build was uneventful. I love the color. Im still waiting for a set of Dura Ace rotors. Just because I can. Not due in for a few weeks yet but thats a quick upgrade.
Ive rode this bike twice now for about an hour and a half. The ride from the 40mm Clement tires is amazing for a old guy. If Im in a group I’ll ride my road bike but if Im alone I will be on this one. This mornings ride was about 80% road and 20% dirt. And a blast. The eTap is working perfectly and I will put some more time on it before I comment on it. I know Im going to get asked which is better, eTap or Di2 since Im riding both at the same time.
I can say this, both have their own shining qualities. But there is a difference in ride and feel. I will be able to elaborate in time….
Im looking forward to many miles on this Crockett and hopefully some gravel roads in northern Wisco!
Now…. what to build next?